In 2010, retired United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the
court’s first woman, founded iCivics, a web-based initiative to improve civics
education across the country. Justice O’Connor is concerned that students
are not getting the information and tools they need for civic participation and
that civics teachers need better materials and support. iCivics is fun, it
is free, and it can fill that void.
Justice O’Connor spoke about iCivics to the 2010 Annual Conference of Chief
Justices, which was attended by Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul A. Suttell, who
enthusiastically signed on as the state chair for Rhode Island. The Rhode
Island Judiciary has enlisted the support of the Rhode Island Department of
Education and the Rhode Island Bar Association to promote iCivics.
The iCivics programs and materials were developed through a partnership of
academic institutions and experts in the field of games and digital
entertainment. iCivics offers free lesson plans, Internet-based activities
called “web quests,” discussion forums, and games.
The lesson plans are designed to reinforce and expand on the games and also meet
national and state standards. They are written and vetted by master
classroom teachers and are searchable by standards in every state.
Comprehensive teacher guides are provided to facilitate classroom use and
integration into existing curricula.